Everyone, from your neighbor to the minivan-driving parent beside you in the school pick-up line, has an opinion about the flu shot. And more importantly, they’re not afraid to share it with you. The best protection against the flu virus is to get vaccinated in the fall. There is still a lot of misinformation about the flu and the flu shot out there.

Test your FLUency with our quick quiz!

Getting a flu shot will give me the flu.

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False! Flu shots are made with inactivated (killed) flu viruses. That means they’re not infectious.

 

I got the flu after I got a flu shot, so the vaccine doesn’t work.

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False! Well, kind of. It’s possible that you are suffering from another respiratory illness or that you were exposed to the flu virus before the vaccine kicked in (it takes two weeks after getting it to be effective) or you came down with a strain of flu that wasn’t included in this year’s vaccine. Even if you still get the flu after getting a flu shot, getting the shot may help you have milder symptoms.

 

I need to get a flu shot every year.

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True! The flu virus changes (mutates) every year. So, getting vaccinated each year is important to make sure you have immunity to the strains that are most likely to cause an outbreak that year and it helps build your immunity against the flu for the long term.

 

If I wait until Nov. or Dec. to get the vaccine, I’ll be healthy for the holidays.

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False! Since flu season starts in October, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends you get a flu shot by the end of October so that you are protected for the MAXIMUM amount of time during the season. But, if it’s already Thanksgiving and you realize you haven’t gotten you flu shot it’s not too late – getting it late in the season is better than not getting it at all.

 

I’m young, strong and healthy. I don’t need a flu shot.

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False! The CDC recommends that everyone 6 months and older get vaccinated for the flu. That’s because influenza is a contagious disease and can lead to serious illness, including pneumonia, as well as missed work or even hospitalization for otherwise healthy people. Healthy people also can spread the virus to others who are particularly susceptible, including newborn babies, senior citizens and those with weakened immune systems.

 

More information about the flu and getting the vaccine is available here. You can also find the closest flu vaccine provider to you by entering your ZIP code here.